New Book Reviews for Kids

Below are staff reviews of select new books in the Youth Services Department.
For a list of all the new and forthcoming Youth books, click here.

New Book Reviews

Magritte's Marvelous Hat

by D.B. Johnson

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 11

Magritte sees a hat in a shop window and, even though it refuses to stay on his head, he can't resist buying it. Then the adventures begin in this surreal picture book introduction to the surrealist painter's art.

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More books by D.B. Johnson

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade,4th Grade,5th Grade Subjects: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Humor Location: Picture Books

Buried Alive! How 33 Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert

by Elaine Scott

Reading Level: 5-8

Imagine that you are trapped way down in the earth in stifling heat with little light, air, food or water.  Imagine that for the first 17 days you don't even know if anyone is searching for you.  These are the personal stories of the trapped miners, their loved ones, and their rescuers.  Throughout the books are photos of the families, the rescue equipment, and amazing pictures of the men while they are trapped deep within the earth.

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Another book about the miners is

Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners From 2,000 feet Below the Chilean Desert


Reading Level: 5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Non-Fiction Location: J Non-Fiction

Cat Girl's Day Off

by Kimberly Pauley

Reading Level: Grades 7-9

The Ng family has a lot of status.  Everyone in the family has at least one A or B level Talent (as rated by BERM - the Bureau of Extra-Sensory Regulation and Management.)  Everyone except Natalie, the family disappointment.  She has one D level Talent...she speaks and understands cat.  Natalie does her best to keep classmates from learning of her embarrassing talent, only using it to talk to the family cat in the privacy of her bedroom.

And that's how things remain until the day her friends Oscar and Melly shows her a video of a celebrity blogger being attacked by her own cat.  The cat is screaming, " Help me!  Hellllpppme!  Kill the imposter!"

Against her better judgement, Natalie allows her star-struck friends to drag her into a mystery that involves Chicago, a remake of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and one very cranky pink cat.

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Books by Kimberly Pauley

Other humorous fantasy novels featuring harried heroines include:

Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough and

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Other stories of humans who can talk to animals include:

What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld

The Exceptionals by Erin Cashman

The Boy Who Spoke Dog by Morgan Clay and

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce



Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Adventure, Fantasy, Friends, Humor, Misfits, Mysteries Location: JY Fiction

Fake Mustache Or, How Jodie O'Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from A Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind

by Tom Angleberger

Reading Level: Grades 3-6

Lenny is pitchforked into a death defying race to save the world when best friend Casper purchases  the Heidelberg Handlebar Number Seven mustache.

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Books by Tom Angleberger

Other crazy adventures include:

Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson

We Are Not Eaten by Yaks by C. Alexander London and

The Brain Finds a Leg by Martin Chatteton



Reading Level: 3rd Grade,4th Grade,5th Grade,6th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Fantasy, Humor Location: J Fiction

Caddy's World

by Hilary McKay

Reading Level: Grades 4-6

Hilary McKay scores again in this prequel to the Casson Family series.  Before her struggles with A level exams and her adventures with "Michael Darling" the beleaguered driving instructor, Caddy Casson was a 12-year-old girl facing the loss and challenges of changing friendships.

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Books by Hilary McKay

If you enjoy Caddy and her eccentric family try:

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan

Ordinary Jack by Helen Cresswell and

The Heroic Life of Al Capsella by Judith Clarke



Reading Level: 4th Grade,5th Grade,6th Grade Subjects: Family, Friends, Humor, Realistic Fiction Location: J Fiction

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

by Rae Carson

Reading Level: Grades 7+

The gods bestowed the godstone on Princess Lucero-Elissa de Riqueza on her namiing day.  Sixteen years later she has not exibited any of the heroic traits looked for in a chosen one.  Elissa is used to being a disappointment.   As  the obese, untalented younger sister of the beautiful, slim and multitalented Princess Alodia, Elissa is usually the object of pity or scorn.  But since her father decided to use his second daughter in a political marriage with King Alejandro there is no way for Elissa to avoid the very public ceremony or the disappointed eyes of her groom.

King Alejandro isn't concered with his new bride's weight or beauty.  He needs a chosen one to save his kingdom.  After the wedding it becomes apparent that Alejandro is not the only one who wants the bearer of the godstone.  Many do and most are willing to kill to control her.

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Books by Rae Carson

Other fantasy tales of teens tangled in prophecy and politics include:

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Graceling by Kristin Cashore and

Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce


Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Fantasy, Misfits Location: JY Fiction


by Lissa Price

Reading Level: Grades 6 - 9

Before the war life spans have been extended to up to 200 years. In order to ensure that the new extreme elderly could support themselves the government made it illegal for anyone under the age of 19 to hold a job. When the spore bombs were launched by the enemy during the war, only children and the elderly had been vaccinated against this man-made plague. As a result the only people left alive in the United States are the Starters (children under 19) and the Enders (adults over 65). Callie and her brother are among the unlucky children who had no living grandparents and are forced to live illegally on the street trying to avoid being swept up into one of the horrible forced labor camps for unclaimed minors. Then Callie hears about The Body Bank, where Enders pay huge fees to possess a Starter's body for a few hours or more via computer chips implanted in the Starter's brain. Callie thinks this is her way out. She only has to rent her body three times and then the big payoff will come. But can it really be that easy?

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More books by Lissa Price

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Dystopias, Family, Friends, Misfits, Mysteries, Relationships, Science Fiction, Survival Location: JY Fiction

Chloe and the Lion

by Mac Barnett

Grades K-3

A truly original, silly, funny, and downright cool picture book about a girl named Chloe, a loose-change finder who ends up lost in the woods after a dizzyingly long merry-go-round ride... where she meets a huge lion. (The lion is really a dragon, not a lion. Illustrator Adam Rex has been fired for replacing the lion with a "cooler" dragon. Sorry. The remainder of the book will be handled by a true illustrator who can follow directions. Apologies for this interruption.)

So Chloe, in the woods, suddenly comes upon a li-

(Sorry again. The new illustrator seems to have drawn a lion who has eaten the author of the book.)

-on, who lets out a ferocious roar.

(You know what? That roar didn't look very ferocious... how about a scarier lion?)

And so on, and so forth.

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More books by Mac Barnett.

More books by Adam Rex.


Illustrator: Adam Rex Reading Level: Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade Subjects: Adventure, Animals--Real, Don't Miss These, Friends, Humor, Read-Alouds Location: Picture Books


by I.C. Springman

Reading Level: Ages 3-6

A magpie with a very empty nest is given a marble by a helpful mouse....

...but then he gets more...

...and more....

...and more...

How will magpie fit in his nest with all that stuff?

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More books by I.C. Springman.

Illustrator: Brian Lies Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Don't Miss These, Friends, Humor, Non-Prose, Social Issues Location: Picture Books

The Obstinate Pen

by Frank W. Dormer

Reading Level: PreK-2

Uncle Flood is ready to begin writing his story - beginning with this sentence: "The following story is all true." (A great first line, if he does say so himself.)

However, his pen has other ideas for Uncle Flood's first line:

"You have a big nose."

"You have eyes as large as dinner plates."

"Your hair is like a bird's nest."

Furious, Uncle Flood tosses the rude pen out the window.   Can you imagine what sort of havoc the pen will wreak next?

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More books by Frank W. Dormer

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Don't Miss These, Humor Location: Picture Books